World Urban Parks champions urban park outcomes for city liveability, place-making, conservation and access, and provides strong membership services by connecting, leveraging and supporting diverse memberships across the international urban parks, open space and recreation community and allied sectors. We are a community wanting to make a better world and who are ready to help each other.
Advocacy: A global voice supporting the value and benefits of parks and the industry through science and unity
Best Practice: World-class communities, organisations, and professionals recognized for high standards and efficiencies through congresses, benchmarking, awards and certification
Collaboration: Resolving issues and increasing knowledge and capacity through diverse networks of colleagues and partnerships.
Bi-monthly themes such as: Climate Change, Healthy Parks Healthy People, Equity and Democracy, Older Adults, Access – every child with a park within a short walk, and Economic Development will raise the focus of key issues for urban parks.
Aims and Objectives
World Urban Parks is the international representative body for the urban parks, open space and recreation sector. At a time when urban growth will see 70 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas by 2050, sharing knowledge and providing a collective voice for people and organisations leading or involved in urban parks, green city, conservation, recreation, sport, health and related outcomes is vital. Together we want to build healthy, liveable and sustainable communities.
World Urban Parks is the organisation to go to for international advice, support and getting connected with urban park, open space and recreation issues, people and activity. We combine the experience of our members and partners with opportunities to help build urban parks leadership and bring about significant improvements in cities where rapid urbanisation is occurring.
We provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on common environmental, social and economic challenges where urban parks are part of the solution. And we speak at an international and local level in direct support of our members – whether setting global standards, advocating the benefits of urban parks, or supporting a funding bid, a campaign, or professional development.
World Urban Parks aspires to complement and attain the same level of recognition as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which represents protected areas on the world stage. To achieve this we will build membership to levels where we are truly representative of the diverse international urban parks, open space and recreation community. We will act as an umbrella to national associations and connect park agencies, non-governmental organisations, universities, research institutes, businesses, community groups, individuals and allied sectors such as health, tourism, and resource management.
A World where people value and have easy access to quality urban parks, open space and recreation
To promote and support the provision, effective management and use of urban parks, open space and recreation world-wide as an integral contribution to healthy communities connected to the natural world
Comprehensive and well managed urban parks and city open space improving the quality of life for urban dwellers and protecting natural and cultural values
B. Park, Open Space and Recreation Benefits
The economic, environmental, cultural and social values of urban parks, open space and recreation are well understood and supported across the world by communities and their governments
C. People Networks
Urban park, open space and recreation managers and stewards are well connected with ready access to quality information and training to enhance their effectiveness
D. Global Voice
World Urban Parks is recognized as the global unified voice for urban parks, open space and recreation
- Build credibility as a knowledgeable and respected organisation able to provide policy advice to governments and high level decision makers across the world
- Help governments, organisations and the community at all levels to plan, manage and use urban parks, open space and recreation through advocacy and provision of strategic advice
- Strengthen capacity and effectiveness of urban park, open space and recreation managers and stewards through the provision of guidance, tools and knowledge, and providing recognition through accreditation
- Consolidate and share knowledge to promote good practice, establish international standards and good practice, resolve issues, and to demonstrate and communicate all the values of urban parks, open space and recreation
- Facilitate and support the formation of urban park and recreation national associations - connecting groups, organisations and individuals through national and international networking and advocacy
- Develop partnerships and alliances with key sectors and organisations that benefit from the existence of urban parks, open space and recreation
- Promote research into the social, cultural, health, environmental and economic values of parks, open space and recreation
- Provide easy access to accumulated knowledge in readily understandable terms
- Increase investment in urban parks by informing public, private and philanthropic sectors of the essential contribution of parks, open space and recreation to healthy communities and ecosystems
- Exercise excellent governance and administration
“ The membership and network of World Urban Parks gives my staff and myself
valuable and cost effective opportunities to learn and get adaptable ideas from
all over the world - to enhance the services of our department.
- Torgeir Esig Soerensen, Head of Parks and Streets Department, City of Stavanger, Norway
Advocating for access to urban parks, open space and recreation and promoting conservation and effective management of natural and cultural values to create healthy, liveable and sustainable communities and a healthy planet
Providing global research and experience demonstrating the health and social benefits of urban parks and making the case for more funding
Forming a strategic international ‘think-tank’ or group of respected individuals to credibly advance and advocate for the cause of urban parks
Partnering with like-minded global bodies and sectors to speak with a unified voice to advance common agendas and ensure parks are recognized as an essential city-building tool
Advocating and supporting common causes and issues internationally, nationally and on behalf of agencies
Facilitating international networking, project collaboration, study tours, peer reviews, staff exchange and consultancy, and bringing government, businesses, and communities together
Accessing the latest data and information on urban park issues, actions and efficiencies through conferences and seminars, collaborative research studies, policy development, a knowledge hub and e-communications translatable into many languages
Setting international standards and providing benchmarking services and awards to drive and recognise excellence in city liveability and sustainability, and organisational and community leading practices
Coordinating and facilitating international programmes and events
Strengthening national associations through member discounts, brokering speakers and world conference status, promoting and expanding services, and assisting the formation of new national associations
Endorsing and promoting quality services and products by organisations and groups
In addition to the above benefits:
Facilitating specialised education and training
World Parks Academy international professional development, certification and credentialing
Great network support, committee and project roles; advancing young professionals
“ Forming and maintaining mutually beneficial relations, and interacting internationally
is of paramount importance in thehorticultural fraternity. Interacting succours members by
sharing experiences, knowledge, relevant information and contacts with other networking
members by establishing sustained partnerships. World Urban Parks is consequently an
imperative role-player, especially in the African Continent!
- Emmanuel Maphorogo, Parks Manager, Johannesburg City Parks, South Africa
Click here for the one-page 'Pocket Prospectus'
Click here for the comprehensive World Urban Parks Invitation to Join Prospectus
Click here for the World Urban Parks Invitation to Associations
The concept for World Urban Parks grew out of a strategic review of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (Ifpra) by the International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance (Parks for Life) in conjunction with other stakeholders.
Ifpra was a unique international organisation representing and providing a forum for people, organisations and cities managing parks, recreation, conservation, ecology and allied fields and fostering international and national cooperation. It emerged at the first International Congress of the Institute of Parks Administration in London in 1957. During an open meeting at this Congress, at which there were 742 delegates, 609 from the UK and 133 from other countries, the International Federation of Park Administration was created. At the General Assembly meeting of this new Organisation in Bern in 1969, the ‘R’ for Recreation was added to the title and the International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration was created.
Ifpra held triennial world congresses with European and Asia-Pacific Region congresses in intervening years; seminar and technical tours, produced a quarterly magazine Ifpra World, and had developed science research and partnerships with Yardstick benchmarking and international certification with Indiana University's Eppley Institute.
Parks for Life was an international alliance of professional and peak park and recreation associations and similar organisations spanning the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. It had an interest in advocacy and aligning global activities, such as World Parks Day.
The Strategic review highlighted a need for a new-model inclusive organisation that would compliment the IUCN by focussing on urban parks, open space and recreation where the world's population mainly lived. It is a focus on people, place making, health, urban liveability, and connection to sustainable natural environment. And it is a focus on joining up all government, businesses and the community engaged in this and allied sectors.
Ifpra committed reserves to fund the planning of the new organisation and a Task Force of Ifpra, Parks for Life, and other stakeholders developed implementation to the point that the Ifpra General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to launch the organisation on behalf of the parks, open space and recreation sector in April 2015. The new organisation has inherited the best of its founding organisation's visions, services and members from 35 countries that have enabled World Urban Parks to hit the ground while drawing in exciting new contributions and country representation from partnering organisations, new organisations and individuals.